GFM Network News


Two members of the Farming Smarter research team collect seed samples for a field-scale trial.

Doing your own research? Then keep it simple

You can collect lots of data but much of it may be of no use — or worse, it might lead you down the wrong path

Reading Time: 4 minutes There’s a big world of information out there today, more so than ever before. When it comes to precision ag, universities, applied research institutions, governments, and companies all have their own research recommending everything from the best VRT settings to the right seed depth in specific soil profiles. And all those reams and reams of […] Read more

cattle grazing

Grazing winter cereals can work

First-year results of study on grazing winter cereals found both grain and silage yields were affected

Reading Time: 2 minutes Mixed farmers looking to cut costs may be able to hit two birds with one stone — by grazing the fall growth of a winter cereal. “This is a practice that’s quite common in other parts of the world, but it’s one that we haven’t really delved into, likely because we’re a little bit light […] Read more


crop sprayer

Farmers, hit that snooze button — spraying later is your best bet

For pre-seed burn-down and broadleaf weed control, it’s better to 
spray during the day rather than early morning or nighttime

Reading Time: 2 minutes A plant in the morning dew is a little like a man stepping out of a shower — wet and cold, and that much colder because it’s wet. “The phase change between a liquid and a gas sucks heat energy out of the plant. That practice will actually hurt the plant,” said Ken Coles, general […] Read more

Late is not great when it comes to seeding wheat

Late is not great when it comes to seeding wheat

Wheat growers need to get their crop in the ground as early as possible if they want to maximize yields

Reading Time: 3 minutes It’s time to start treating wheat like it’s a “real crop,” says Ontario agronomist ‘Wheat Pete’ Johnson. “Wheat is the most responsive crop to management we grow, and yet it’s the crop that we manage the least,” Peter Johnson said at the Farming Smarter conference last month. “You just put it in the ground and […] Read more


Phil Bernardin of Engage Agro explained some of the ins and outs of using plant growth regulators at Farming Smarter field days.

Get your timing right with PGRs

By increasing or decreasing hormone production, plant growth regulators can either promote or limit growth

Reading Time: 3 minutes Plant growth regulators may offer some benefits, but the timing and staging of their application is critical. “Plant growth regulators change the hormone relationships within plants and can increase or decrease hormone production,” Phil Bernardin, a technical rep with Engage Agro, said at Farming Smarter’s recent field day. In cereals, plant growth regulators act as […] Read more

Farming Smarter has created a hail simulator — dog chains attached to a bar that can be attached to a front-end loader — to create a reasonable imitation of hail damage.

Researchers invent their own version of the great white combine

Farming Smarter has created a hail simulator so it can test ‘hail rescue’ treatments

Reading Time: 3 minutes What can you do when your crops get pounded by hail? How do crops recover from hail damage? There are a lot of questions about this subject, and little information available. That’s why the team at Farming Smarter developed its own hail damage simulation machine, which it unveiled at the organization’s recent field school. “We […] Read more


people in a farm tour group

Take a break and grab some agricultural learning

Summer’s always busy but getting away from 
the farm for a day can really pay off

Reading Time: 3 minutes It’s back-to-school season for farmers with a spate of field schools and workshops coming up following the end of seeding. Here are three reasons to spend a day away from the farm and at school: No. 1: It pays Field days are not just about listening to the experts, they’re also events where farmers are […] Read more

Farming Smarter cancels spring crop walks

Producer-run research organization urges farmers to lobby new government for 
more dollars

Reading Time: 2 minutes A funding shortfall has prompted Farming Smarter to cancel its spring crop walks for 2015. The shortfall resulted from cutbacks by the outgoing Progressive Conservative government, said Ken Coles, general manager of the farmer-run research organization based in Lethbridge. “Even if the new provincial government decides to keep or improve the AOF (Agriculture Opportunities Fund) […] Read more


Since late- and second-cut alfalfa is too short to catch snow, Esther producer Curtis Hoffmann leaves strips of tall stubble to do the job.

In dry years, tall stubble can make all the difference in yields

Leaving tall stubble standing in the field can add an inch 
of soil moisture and boost yields by as much as 17 per cent


Reading Time: 3 minutes Large chunks of Alberta have seen some wet years recently, but water tends to be the most limiting factor for crop growth. And there’s only two remedies when it’s dry: Increase water supply and improve water-use efficiency, says an agrometeorologist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Leaving tall stubble in the field does both those things, […] Read more

Farmers doing their own tests could try a smaller-scale version of repeated check strips used by commercial researchers.  file photo

Three keys to successful on-farm research

Reading Time: 2 minutes The first critical step in research is to keep it simple. “Ask one question, and keep it very specific,” said Farming Smarter researcher Lewis Baarda. “It’s important to keep that as simple as you can and have one research question where you can look at one thing at a time. The simpler you make it, […] Read more